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Kentucky High School Athletes Cleared To Play, Despite Misgivings

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AP Photo/Rick Bowmer
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Kentucky high schools will be permitted to move ahead with their fall sport seasons, despite warnings from the governor and the state's top health official.

"At some point, it can't be every single decision comes to the governor and the governor decides," Gov. Andy Beshear said Monday, appealing to leaders across the state to take the initiative in fighting coronavirus.

The decision not to overturn a call by the Kentucky High School Athletics Association board, which voted to allow fall sports practice to officially start this week with competition to follow in September, affects football, soccer, cross country, volleyball, and field hockey.

The announcement came with a long list of caveats. The governor urged schools to exercise close watch over games, implement as much testing as possible, maintain transparency when it comes to COVID positives, and act swiftly to cancel any events at the first sign of an outbreak.

Yet, even with those precautions, state Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack said the outlook is not good, adding the odds are "football is going to start, kids are going to start getting infected, people are going to get concerned and scared, things are going to get shut down, and the rest of the sporting teams lose their seasons too."

Student athletes and supporters gathered outside the Capitol Monday to press the governor to let them play, arguing other states have allowed high school sports to resume and the activities contrbute to students' well being.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.